Yesterday there was a picture on the front page of a local newspaper. In the picture was a woman in her 70's sitting in what looked like a child's fort made out of cardboard boxes. It was her home. Homeless is nothing new. We saw homeless people on a daily basis when we lived in Chicago. Typically the were victims of mental illness or had some sort of substance abuse addiction or a combination of the two. What struck me about this woman was her background story. She is a retired nurse. Her pension is a meager $150 a month. She is highly educated and apparently in full retention of her faculties. The article was brief and gave very little information, but there was no mention of substance abuse or mental illness. It is always sad to see homeless people, but it is even sadder when it is a well educated hard working person. This is a country in which poverty is a real problem in a way that many in the U.S. cannot comprehend.
Driving down the road this afternoon I passed by several young women in tight short skirts standing on the side of the road seemingly in the middle of nowhere. These women are looking to make money in the only way they know how. I have passed such women on the road on a regular basis since we moved to Europe 5 years ago, but there seem to be many more here in the Sofia area. My instinct is to look on such women with repulsion and contempt. After all, they are engaged in a shameful and repugnant vocation. Then I remember the story of a similar woman washing Jesus feet with her hair. Would I even let such a woman touch me? I have been doing research on human trafficking. Bulgaria is one of the worst countries in the world for human trafficking and sex trafficking. It is a terrible problem that must be addressed by the body of Christ.
Looking at the problems of poverty, prostitution, and human trafficking I am overwhelmed. What can we do about such major problems. Where do we even begin. Human trafficking, poverty, crime, corruption. The need for the Savior here is great. Please pray with us that God would send additional teammates to join in this ministry. Pray also for wisdom in how to handle each of the issues that come across our path. Praise Him that we are not alone in our ministry here. Praise Him that through Jesus, all things are made new!